prepared pizza dough
2 Italian eggplants, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
3 tablespoons Parmesan
1 tablespoon minced basil
1 tablespoon minced oregano
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the eggplant slices in single layer. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until they are soft and cooked through but not browned. Allow to cool slightly. Turn the oven up to 400. In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, Parmesan, and mozzarella. Divide the dough into 8 equal chunks for individual (about hand sized) calzones or 4 equal chunks for larger calzones. Roll each one into a 5-6 inch round. Add a single layer of fennel and then 2 (or 4) tablespoons of the cheese mixture and top with slices of eggplant in one half of each round, leaving a 1/4 inch border. Fold the dough over to form a half moon shape and pinch shut. Repeat until all are filled and pinched shut. Bake on a pizza stone or on baking sheets for about 20 minutes or until golden and hot all the way through. Serve immediately.
Refrigerate leftover calzones in an air tight container or resealable bag overnight. To reheat: allow them to sit on the counter while the oven preheats to 350. Bake until cooked through.
I found some lovely Italian eggplants and a pristine bulb of fennel at, of all places, H Mart, and immediately began trying think of interesting and new ways to use the two together. I can’t say that calzones leapt immediately to mind but I had ricotta and mozzarella and of course, flour and yeast so I thought I’d give it a shot. I am glad I did, it was so good! Slightly more upscale and subtle and the usual calzone.
I discovered the baking the eggplant trick when I was developing recipes for my upcoming cookbook and it really does result in a velvety texture in the final dish. The fennel stays somewhat crisp but not so crisp that when you bite into it the fennel falls out of the calzone and burns your chin.